5 minutes with Gabriel Vick: 'I needed to do Promises, Promises'

Currently appearing in ”Promises, Promises”, the ”Miss Atomic Bomb” writer talks about ”Avenue Q” and why he wants to write and act in a new musical

Gabriel Vick
Gabriel Vick
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

I played Oliver when I was ten, and I had an appetite for acting. But it wasn’t until university that I decided to be an actor. I was reading philosophy, and I read the same sentence four times over before I put the book down and thought: "I’m going to be an actor, it must be a lot easier than this". I was in the drama scene at uni, and was in plays with people like Harry Lloyd [The Theory of Everything] who's gone on to be quite big now.

I knew that the fact I could sing made me different. It was always going to be a bit easier to get into musical theatre acting than just straight acting. By the time I’d finished studying, I just wanted to get on with it. In 2005, I got my first professional job in Scrooge The Musical at the London Palladium with Tommy Steele. While I was doing that, I auditioned for Avenue Q and was offered an understudy role. That was a fantastic thing to do, I’d say that was my break.

Writing Miss Atomic Bomb was amazingly rewarding and empowering. I'd love to write a musical and act in it, like Lin-Manuel Miranda. I want to create something that is new and my own. I've got a couple of ideas bubbling away, but writing a musical is not a short process. I'm not rushing into everything. It's great to do revivals and US imports, but you know there's always been someone in those shoes before you.

There's so much to like about Promises, Promises. It's really funny, a bit like The Producers. It has Neil Simon's really witty script which is fab, and Burt Bacharach's music which everyone loves. It's a real gift.

When I got the script for the show, I knew this was what I need to be doing. I play Chuck Baxter, and he's hardly off the stage. He's a try-hard, middle-man trying to make his way in a huge corporation. He's quite old fashioned and really daft. That Leo Bloom-type role is something I've always wanted to do, and this is kind of like that.

John Guerrasio is our fount of knowledge for anything relating to Brooklyn. He's still a proper New Yorker even though he's lived here for the last twenty years. He's been great. Daisy Maywood has been an absolute joy, a real pleasure to play against. And we've got lovely Paul Robinson playing Sheldrake – he has no right to be so gorgeous.

Promises, Promises runs at Southwark Playhouse until 18 February.

Click here to read our review of Promises, Promises